Category Archives: Serial

Serial S2 E7-8 Recap: The Midnight Ride of Bowe Bergdahl

Clearly Sarah Koenig does not read my blog because she opens episode 7 by saying “cootchie” five times, followed by the word “concocted.” Maybe podcasts seem like the type of medium that would attract a more sophisticated audience, but doesn’t Sarah Koenig know that her listeners’ minds are in the gutter? If Sarah Koenig read my blog she would also know that making two episodes of season 2 in one week (4x her bi-weekly promise) is unacceptable when Adnan Syed was on the stand a mere 200 miles south in Baltimore. Okay, I don’t think Adnan was ever technically put on the stand, but maybe I would know that if Sarah Koenig had stuck around to cover the rest of the hearing. Continue reading

Serial S2 E6 Recap: This is not Sparta.

If you were wondering how big Bowe Bergdahl’s ego must be to pull a “Jason Bourne” (his words—not mine) in Afghanistan, he answers it in the latest episode of Serial: 380 pages. That’s how long Bergdahl’s statement is about his time in the Taliban’s custody.

Let’s put that into perspective. The Da Vinci Code is 454 pages. Pride and Prejudice: 360 pages. The Hobbit: 304 pages. Bowe Bergdahl’s statement is 4 pages longer than To Kill A MockingbirdSeems like a lot for someone who was blindfolded for the greater part of 5 years.

In episode 6, Sarah Koenig talks to a lot of guys who knew Bergdahl before he went rogue. By all accounts, Bergdahl was a great soldier. He memorized the handbooks, cleaned his weapons, and brought snacks for his buddies. If the U.S. army were a PE class, Bergdhal was every team captain’s first pick.

One might describe Bergdahl as an introvert, but he insists that he was just playing it safe. He knew that the best way not to rub anyone the wrong way was to stay quiet and keep to himself. He observed from the sidelines. Sarah Koenig says he was the perfect house guest.
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The (Sur)real World: Charm City

In the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, an NBC Dateline producer says, “Right now murder is hot.” I’m not sure that this woman knows what “hot” means, because on the scale of things that are incredibly un-hot, murder falls somewhere between peach fuzz mustaches and amateur taxidermists. Murder trials are “in” right now, though. Just look at the success of SerialMaking a Murderer, and The Jinx.

From the beginning of Serial, Adnan Syed’s story has really resonated with me. Maybe it’s because I so value my freedom. Just kidding. It’s obviously because I have a soft spot for first-generation Americans (re: every boyfriend I’ve ever had). That’s probably why it has been so hard for me to adjust to season 2 of Serial. I’m not as invested in Bowe Bergdahl’s case. I miss the ole Woodlawn crew.img-Adnan-Syed-could-get-new-trial

But the gang got back together for Adnan’s hearing. It’s like a Real Housewives reunion. Hey, since Sarah Koenig didn’t stick around for the end of the trial, maybe Andy Cohen can host it. Continue reading

Serial S2 E5 Recap: That sounds like a personnel problem.

Think about your favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza place, the one you order from every week. Imagine that it suddenly becomes popular. You don’t even have to convince your friends to eat there anymore so that you have someone to talk to about it. They all love it as much as you do.

But then something changes. Maybe the chef can’t handle the pressure of millions of customers and takes on too big of a menu. Maybe the way she used to make the pizza was sort of illegal and now that she’s famous she has to follow the rules. Or maybe the pizza just doesn’t work without the ingredients she used last time. Either way, the quality isn’t as good as it used to be. When Thursday comes around, you aren’t even excited about your weekly pizza anymore. Sometimes it takes you a whole day to finish. Your friends are like, “Lucy, why did you make me order this? This pizza sucks!” You keep eating it anyway, though, in hopes that one week it will taste the way you remember it.

Then one Thursday morning–with no notice–you call to order your pizza, and they say that they’re only delivering every other Thursday now. The chef says she is going to start getting better ingredients from people who really know about pizza. The ingredients are going to be so good that it’s going to take her two weeks to collect them all. But she promises it will be worth the wait. Two weeks later, your pizza shows up. You wake up 30 minutes early so that you can walk to work and eat it during your commute. That’s how excited you are.

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Serial S2 E4 Recap: Keeping Up with the Taliban

On Thursday, Sarah Koenig said bye weekly episodes in favor of bi-weekly episodes. She made a similar pun on the podcast but it fell flat. Sort of like when I was dating an Indian guy and I went out on a limb with “sorry I’m not sari” and he didn’t get it. It’s a joke meant for print.

Koenig also recently spoke out against people who accuse her of being in love with Adnan Syed. I see why that might be offensive, but come on, Koenig. Can you really blame us for wondering if you wanted to taste that forbidden fruit? Isn’t it every little girl’s dream to fall in love with a convict and then draw enough attention to his case through a Peabody Award-winning podcast that he is granted a new hearing and released just in time for your fairy tale wedding? It’s the premise of, like, every chivalric romance.

Plus she’s gotta give the public some credit for refraining from saying she wanted Adnan in her “kuchi tent.” It’s what everyone was thinking the second she said a word that sounds like “cootchie” on an NPR podcast. And anyone who says that isn’t what they were thinking is a liar. But I guess I should recap last week’s episode now. Continue reading

Serial S2 E3 Recap: Stuck in Nomad’s Land

Unanswered questions going into episode 3 of Serial:
1. Was Bergdahl ever actually at a kuchi tent?
2. Did Sarah Koenig put the Taliban on mute so she could laugh at the word “kuchi”?

“Did he just say ‘cootchie tent’?! Wait, Dana, do you want to drive around Afghanistan to see if it’s even possible to get from Mest to the cootchie tent in under 21 minutes?”

3. Should “kuchi tent” be a euphemism for something?
4. Do I have the maturity of a 12-year-old boy right now?
5. Is “Taliban” singular or plural?
6. Seriously, can someone help me with this one?
7. How did Bergdahl escape? Continue reading

Serial S2 E2 Recap: You had me at Hilal

Since last week’s episode of Serial, there has been a new development in Bergdahl’s case. He is going to the general court-martial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and he could face a life-sentence in an American prison. Koenig’s question is, has Bergdahl already been punished enough?bergdahl

My question is (still), how does Sarah Koenig know the Taliban? Is that a perk of working for NPR? Do you have contacts in most Islamic fundamentalist political groups? Continue reading